It is no mystery that today’s society is technologically advanced and that globally everyone has a mobile phone or other handheld electronic gadgets. People can now have a wide range of options at their fingertips in a matter of seconds. Although the technology is beneficial, excess usage of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, What’s App, etc., can be equivalent to addiction and negatively impacts people (Glaser et al., 12). Notably, many individuals who spend most of their time on these apps have been found to have anxiety and depression-related symptoms. Thus, it is clear that the increased use of social media in contemporary society adversely affects individuals resulting in depression and anxiety, particularly in those who use it for an extended period regularly.
The displacement hypothesis claims that excessive involvement in some activities obstructs participation in other activities that may be more helpful. Although this theory predates social media, it can help explain why excessive social media usage might be harmful. According to the idea, every minute spent online takes away time needed for activities that are better for a person’s mental health, such as exercise. This implies that the harm produced by social media is proportional to the amount of time spent on it, bolstering the claim that “social media is hazardous to an individual’s mental health” (Glaser et al. 13). This confirms the displacement hypothesis’ description of how social media displaces positive activities, having a negative, monotonic influence on mental health, proving and confirming the assertion that social media causes depression and anxiety.
Excessive use of social media can harm an individual’s perception and sense of isolation. Additionally, individuals are missing out on time that they could be spending on various other activities, including studying, sleeping, spending quality time with family and friends, participating in sports, or simply resting. Adolescence is notorious for staying up much past their typical bedtime, resulting in a lack of proper sleep consistently today. They are continually inundating their brains with information that must be sorted and processed (Shensa et al. 116). It is well accepted that sleep is necessary for the body and the brain to perform at their best. Sleep deprivation has also been related to higher incidences of depression in the past. Furthermore, lower academic performance depression is directly related to the amount of time a student spends on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Another characteristic of social media use is that it has a significant impact on self-image and self-worth, which are heavily influenced by body image. The image of the body refers to how a person views oneself as a whole and what they believe about it, including physical qualities and attitudes toward it. Many people are preoccupied with their physical attractiveness and neglect their inherent talents to gain societal acceptance (Glaser et al. 14). Most of the time, even if they receive praise or meet society’s expectations, it is not enough, so they embark on a quest to be as perfect as a model or actress, which leads to depression. On social media platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr, diverse male and female models’ bodies are displayed. As a result, if people fail to match social media’s expectations, anxiety concerns may occur, leading to depression.
Additionally, depression and anxiety do not discriminate against anyone, regardless of age, religion, or social standing. Nowadays, half of the celebrities suffer from depression and anxiety, just like everyone else. People are perpetually perplexed by the difference between sorrow and depression; they believe that a depressed person appears sad, but this is not the case (Shensa et al. 117). Similarly, celebrities appear to be joyful in front of the camera and the media, but they are suffering on the inside, which is unknown to the public. Even many of them have committed suicide as a result of depression, which was exacerbated in part by the use of social media platforms. Additionally, because of today’s social media-oriented culture, they may also receive messages from their detractors who may be disrespectful to them or do something harmful to their reputation. As a result, celebrities who receive negative comments on social media are frequently forced to take a break from their careers, leading to depression.
In conclusion, the excessive social media use can have adverse effects on individuals. Its continuous exposure to users can aggravate the anxiety and depression-related symptoms. Furthermore, it is stated that the effects of social media usage by individuals are dependent on whether they utilize it constructively or adversely. Overall, depression and anxiety are characterized by decreased communication with people, spending more time alone at home, and having bad thoughts. A depressed person’s close friend or family member can assist them in getting out of their mental disorders by encouraging or motivating them to use social media constructively. The posts and stories on social media can significantly impact one’s feelings of despair and anxiety. As a result, people must recognize the necessity of restricting their use of social media and engaging in physical activity to make their minds less stressed and healthier.
Glaser, Philip, et al. “Is Social Media Use for Networking Positive or Negative? Offline Social Capital and Internet Addiction as Mediators for the Relationship between Social Media Use and Mental Health.” New Zealand Journal of Psychology, vol. 47, no. 3, 2018, pp. 12-18.
Shensa, Ariel, et al. “Social Media Use and Depression and Anxiety Symptoms: A Cluster Analysis.” American Journal of Health Behavior, vol. 42, no. 2, 2018, pp. 116-128.